Welcome to our Allergy Center
The ENT & Allergy Centers of Texas provides comprehensive allergy treatment for the entire family at our allergy center. Our philosophy is to determine the underlying cause of our patient’s ailments, and not to simply treat the symptoms. Often patients with chronic sinusitis, ear disease or nasal obstruction have allergies. Their conditions may improve with surgery and medical treatment, but never truly resolve without treatment of the underlying condition causing the inflammation.
In North Texas, we have the perfect allergy storm: windy, flat conditions with plenty of pollens, weeds and grasses to aggravate allergies. While we cannot fix our location, we can address the environmental, physical and immune factors that involve the ear, nose and throat. Dallas-Ft Worth is routinely in the top 20 worst cities in the nation for allergies. If you have itching, sneezing, runny nose, post-nasal drainage, nasal obstruction, or nasal congestion, you may be one of many in DFW suffering from allergies. 1 out of every 4 households in America suffer from allergies. Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as “hay fever”, is the most common manifestation of allergies and is the 2nd leading cause of chronic disease in the United States behind only cardiovascular disease. It’s easy to become frustrated when:
- Over-the-counter medications fail to provide relief
- Allergies cause sleeping problems
- Itching, sneezing, red eyes, and a runny nose become embarrassing in public
- Your child cannot focus at school due to daily allergies
At The ENT & Allergy Centers of Texas, we have 3 goals. These include:
- Identify if you have allergies and the specific allergens.
- To teach you about the various treatment options for your allergies from medication to immunotherapy.
- Help you achieve your goal of allergy relief.
The first step is to determine which allergens cause a reaction in a patient. Skin testing is an excellent first step in diagnosis. The skin test measures which allergen causes an actual reaction. Blood testing and patient history only can provide limited information, while skin testing provides detailed information.
At ENT & Allergy Centers of Texas we offer allergy testing to patients aged 5 and older. In our offices, we have over ten years of experience testing pediatric and adult patients for allergies. We test a comprehensive panel of allergens based on the common inhaled allergens in the area. These include trees, molds, grasses, weeds and pet danders. The results are available in real time and our specialty-trained nurses provide counseling to every patient while they undergo testing. This allows patients to understand:
- Their specific allergies
- Environmental avoidance of allergies
- Cross-reactive foods
- Medical treatment options
- Immunotherapy treatment options including sublingual immunotherapy or injection immunotherapy (Allergy shots)
Allergy testing is well tolerated by patients, even the youngest patients. Our nurses perform prick testing on the forearm. We then offer a quantitative testing on the upper arm for our older children and adults. Once we have the valuable information from allergy testing, we can provide treatment options.
By identifying the exact allergens to which your immune system is overreacting, we can tailor an individual treatment plan. While immunotherapy (retraining your immune system to no longer react to allergens) is the gold standard of treatment, we offer a number of different choices to treat your allergies. We are familiar with many homeopathic remedies, some of which can be quite beneficial. We will counsel you on environmental avoidance techniques including simple steps to improve household air quality. Furthermore, we will discuss the benefits of over-the-counter and prescription medication therapy, allergy injections and sublingual immunotherapy.
Allergy shots are one type of immunotherapy. It remains the single most effective treatment option. Immunotherapy of this type involves the slow administration of increasing doses of the allergen. This causes the immune system to “desensitize” to the offending allergen. Eventually, this allows the body to be exposed to a significant amount of pollen or other allergen without burdensome symptoms.
Allergy drops given under the tongue can offer many advantages over allergy shots. First, there are no needles. Allergy drops (also known as sublingual immunotherapy or SLIT) are applied by putting drops of allergen under the tongue. They have the same effect as injection immunotherapy without the needles. There are obvious advantages there for those who would like to avoid needles.
Second, they can be administered these at home, unlike shots for which you need to come into the office. Occasionally, a visit in the office is required, but not nearly as often as for injections. For those whose schedules preclude the ability to come in for a weekly visit, this can be a tremendous benefit.
Third, while rarely covered by insurance, SLIT can be as affordable as shots depending on your copay for office visits. We can determine the cost difference for you. Sublingual immunotherapy can be an effective, convenient treatment for patients.
Types of Allergies
There are many foods that can increase allergy symptoms. However, this does not mean that one is allergic to these foods. Cross-reactive foods are foods that share a protein with an inhaled allergen. Examples of cross reactive allergens include the following:
Many patients come to us with mild to moderate “food allergies” that are actually the result of cross-reactive foods. Once the inhaled allergens are treated with immunotherapy, patients can often enjoy their favorite foods again without symptoms. This is not to be confused with true food allergies such as peanuts, shellfish and egg allergies which can cause serious reactions such as anaphylaxis.
Cross Reactive Allergens
Molds – Year Round
Foods that contain mold cross-react with inhaled mold allergens causing increased allergy symptoms. The following are examples allergy causing foods:
• Canned juice, especially apple and tomato
• Canned tomatoes, tomato paste, catsup, pizza and spaghetti sauce
• Cantaloupe, grapes, and pineapple
• Aged cheese
• Dried fruits
• Pickled and smoked fish
• Sour cream or milk 3 days or older
• Sourdough breads, baked items using fresh yeast
• Vinegar and vinegar containing foods, mayonnaise, salad dressings, pickles
SUGGESTIONS: When the mold count is high and you eat these foods you may find you have worsening allergy symptoms. When the mold count is low you may be able to consume these items with no extra symptoms. Everyone is different; there could be just one or two things on this list that increase your symptoms.
Weeds – Spring & Fall
SUGGESTIONS: Avoid these foods during high weed season and the day of your allergy injection.
Grass – Summer & Spring
Grains cross-react with grass pollens when eaten during grass season. This may cause an increase in allergic symptoms or an increased local reaction at the allergy injection site.
SUGGESTION: Avoid eating bread and cereals during grass season and around the time of an allergy shot.
Are there any allergy testing side effects?
Serious reactions to allergy testing, allergy injections or sublingual immunotherapy are very rare. It is still important to understand the symptoms of a serious reaction. The risk factors for serious reactions include previous history of anaphylaxis and asthma.
Anaphylaxis Signs & Symptoms
• Decreased blood pressure and lightheadedness
• Redness or rash of skin
• Cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath
• Abdominal pain or cramping
Allergy Skin Testing Forms